Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 Scene Awards - Album of the Year




And here we have it... our final Scene Award of the Year. Oh and it's our final post for the year as well. So we're going to wish you a most excellent New Year's Eve and an even more excellent 2015.  If you've been hanging around here in 2014, thanks for reading and we'll see you real soon.


ALBUM OF THE YEAR:


#20. Sheezus
by Lily Allen




What we said: "Did Lily Allen fall off the Lily Allen bandwagon this year? Some say yes, some say no, I say who fookin' cares (say that with a west London accent and sorry, bit of Lily inspiration there) ‘cause she’s still releasing good pop and that’s what she’s always done. So what if she was accused of sounding like M.I.A? M.I.A is awesome and so was that song ('Air Balloon'); there are a lot worse people to be compared to. It’s four minutes of pop perfection and was co-written with someone who has written for ol’ Swifty and P!nk, so what were people expecting? Nothing too earth shattering, one would hope."


#19. Angus and Julia Stone
by Angus and Julia Stone




What we said: "It's fitting that the Stones went the self-titled route with studio album number three. Angus and Julia Stone sees the brother-sister duo collaborating as co-writers for the first time, making these songs a true representation of what Angus AND Julia Stone can deliver together as music makers. What they can deliver is pretty much awesome as, for the most part, they're proving that old saying that's like, alone they are pretty great, but together they're totally awesome. Which might have been an old X-Men tagline (better worded of course), but let's go with it. Angus and Julia Stone is our first truly cohesive collection of tracks from the pair and combined with Rubin's (the guy that worked with Sir Mix-A-Lot) production skills, the family Stone have never sounded better. For my beautiful friends that have mislabeled the wonderful music these two make as 'Aussie bore-folk' (you loveable jerks), I hope you'll be reconsidering your stance after giving this one a go."


#18. Sonic Highways
by Foo Fighters




What we said: "My love for Dave Grohl is no secret, on this here blog and in the real world. It’s as strong as my love for Jack White (oh Jack, oh sigh) and dare I say it, possibly even stronger. That’s probably because of Dave’s lack of ‘wanker’ factor. I mean, seriously, he took his band around America to record in classic studios all over the country (this one ['Something From Nothing'] recorded in Steve Albini’s studio in Chicago) but he did all of this because of his passion for music, without a sense of "look at me I'm so cool", just a sense of wonder and awe. Of course, there’s more to the Foo Fighters than just Dave and it’s the other members who also deserve a round of applause (those playing at home please join in now) for their unbelievable skills on ‘Something From Nothing’, with its guitar worship and various feelings of rock. So much rock. The Foo Fighters? They can do no wrong in my eyes so add this to the list of things I love about them. It’s a long, long list."


#17. Puddinghead
by Ball Park Music




What we said: "The band doesn't shy away from showing off some new sides. I'm not saying they've changed like Gwen Stefani changed by going solo, but take a track like 'Trippin' The Light Fantastic'. It has all the ingredients needed to have reviewers calling Ball Park Music the heir to Powderfinger's vacated throne. And if you don't stop yourself to question whether Cromack is actually 'ole Bernard once or twice, more power to you, but there's a distinct Fanning-esque Aussie howl in the vocals on one of the brightest moments on Puddinghead. 'Cocaine Lion' is one of those exercises in light and shade that grunge lovers will be drawn to. The verses are subdued and suitably moody, while the choruses let loose with the rips and the roars. It's over far too quickly for my liking. Much like the 90s, the lyrics make little to no sense, but I'm sure someone will find a way to explain to me the point that's been missed. "I met a girl in space, the universe was flipping aces on the table, like a cocaine lion." Do your best, but it's drugs. It's definitely about drugs."


#16. Obsidian
by Jessie Frye




What we said: "Obsidian shows an artist unafraid of taking a risk or two by dipping into different genres and styles. Frye has a remarkable way of not just wearing many hats on the album, but wearing them and owning them. To take this metaphor a step further, let's say that Frye would be able to pull off that hat Pharrell Williams wore to the Grammy Awards. 'Dear' has all the attitude you could want in a bonafide rock star and then some. It's got the big hooks, loud guitars and heavy drums that will get you ready for a rowdy night on the town. Contrast that with the track that immediately follows, the piano ballad 'Sabotage'. The simple tune, combined with some emotive and moody vocal work, tugs at your heartstrings. The one-two punch of 'Dear' and 'Sabotage' is the best example of how talented and versatile Jessie Frye is, both as a vocalist and songwriter. They're polar opposites, yet they sit so comfortably next to each other on the album."


#15. Any Old Love
by Halfway




What we said: "There's that magical thing that you can't quite define in 'Dropout'; a feeling, an emotion and it's something that not all bands manage to find. It's the slight smile from behind the microphone, the subtle nod between guitarists and the look of admiration between band members...all of that and a damn catchy chorus that make 'Dropout' and it's clip another reminder that while some bands become the darlings of the media, the radio, the blogosphere; there's other bands that are just doing their thing. Doing it not for the fame, not for the fortune, but for the love of music."


#14. In The Silence
by Asgeir




What we said: "You'll be drawn to the lyrics just as much as Ásgeir's voice, like these from the title track 'In The Silence' - "Come, take my hand, let's undo the knots of the past, from the night where phantoms toss and turn, go further, deeper as the day is closing." John Grant, who worked on translating the songs from Icelandic to English reportedly did the best he could to maintain the original meanings of the songs, which were mostly written by Ásgeir's dad. His dad just so happens to be one of Iceland's most popular and respected poets, so yes, it's cool to have your dad write your lyrics when your dad is Ásgeir's."


#13. Present Tense
by Wild Beasts




What we said: "I'm not sure I could pick a fave track yet however some tracks immediately burn bright (‘Wanderlust’, ‘Mecca’, ‘Sweet Spot’, ‘A Simple Beautiful Truth’, ‘Past Perfect’) while others smoulder, slowly smoking one out of their comfort zone and into a blubbering mess (‘Nature Boy’, ‘Daughters’, ‘A Dogs Life’) but there are no dogs and I hesitate to label any of them fillers. In its entirety Present Tense has more in common with Smother than either of their previous albums, though with a new tone and feel that will certainly (hopefully, they deserve to be embraced in their full glory) appeal to the broader audience these practitioners of perfect left of centre pop are aiming for."


#12. Lights Out
by Ingrid Michaelson




What we said: "Returning with her sixth studio album, Ingrid Michaelson shows us on Lights Out exactly why she's regarded as one of the best singer-songwriters making music today. I'm going to throw this out early... after many a repeated listen, this is definitely Michaelson's most engaging, ambitious and best album yet. Special guest stars pop in and out and new genres are explored (without departing completely from what we know and love) on an album comprising fourteen individual pop gems. And you totally know you're going to hear half of them on your favourite TV show over the next year or two. As someone who watches a lot of TV (please don't tell anyone how I live), this makes me very happy."


#11. Ultraviolence
by Lana Del Rey




What we said: "If there's one thing Lana Del Rey proved with her sophomore album, Ultraviolence, it's that she's got staying power. I hate to admit it, given my now crazy-fan level adoration of my floral headpiece adorned princess, that even I thought the success of Born To Die would be a one time thing. But I think she went out of her way to mix it up (at least a little) from what we had already heard and she stepped down a way more alternative track with songs like 'West Coast'. Thematically it might not be stepping outside its comfort zone, but the music and the more restrained vocals keep things interesting. Apparently what hasn't changed is her need to be all over some creepy, old dude in her music video. Perhaps she'll move away from that for album number 3. Perhaps not. As a final note, remember that time I got to go to Glastonbury this year? Well I did. And Del Rey's performance of 'West Coast' was a highlight, even if she was sort of just zombie walking around the stage with a durrie in her hand and no shoes on."


#10. Food
by Kelis




What we said: "Overall this feels really tight, well put together whereas in the past I’ve thought some Kelis albums to be often a little disjointed or inconsistent. Food is the real deal and an album I can see myself growing into more and more despite its immediate appeal. You want a dance? Food can help. You want to chill? Food can help. You want to cry? Read the lyrics while emotionally eating half a cake and a pack of potato chips…" 


#9. Silent Treatment
by Highasakite





What we said: "There’s a not so underlying darkness on Silent Treatment that I adore. All the instruments, all the voice, all the words celebrating the secrets, the dark, the things in cupboards that we all hide away, rejoicing the nightfall of heartache in simple indie pop and all of it with a sweet little Norwegian accent.  Perhaps it is singer Ingrid’s subtle accent that makes it seem this way, but there is somehow a little mystery to the sound which is what makes this album such an enjoyable journey, each track its own story and each band member understanding the importance of their place in an album that will continue to be played at mine right through 2015."


#8. The Thieves Are Babes
by Dear Plastic




What we said: "While you can throw out a lot of comparative or similar artists, Dear Plastic establish their own identity over the course of The Thieves Are Babes. A song like 'Antimatter' perfectly represents their quirky yet engaging style of storytelling. "And in that dark matter, no one could see it happen. Ah, but ever since then, I seem to have lost my nerve. My antimatter, my counterpart, do you think we'll ever fall in love." Fantastic sci-fi tale presented in the form of dark avant garde pop. Yes. A million times yes. Current single, 'Epic Delay', is one of the best songs of the year. Baccini's vocal performance is heartbreaking in the absolute defeat that's present throughout. The simple guitar line in the verses against the explosion of sound for the chorus when Baccini lets loose provides an outstanding contrast that sells the pain. "Where do we go? I won't fall asleep because there's no way to know." triple J... why y'all not all over this? 'Buck Up And The Reaper' steers Dear Plastic towards a more grungey alt-rock sound and there's a whole lot of spite and rage, both reserved and not-so-much-reserved. If there's a track that establishes who Scarlette Baccini is as a vocalist, this is it. We get to see her high and lows, guttural grows, wails and towards the end, an unrestrained force of nature. Not once do I find myself thinking... she sound so much like (insert random name to compare artist to here). Brilliant." 


#7. There There
by Megan Washington




What we said: "Establishing her identity from the start, 'Yellow and Blue' separates Washington from the local contemporaries she could be lumped in with. In this field you could be a Higgins, a Blasko, a Julia Stone or even an Emma Louise. Megan Washington is simply a Megan Washington and she's exquisite in her loneliness. Even that 'bounce' in 'My Heart Is A Wheel', all Preatures-y in the infectiousness of the music can't completely hide away the thought that our leading lady is falling apart at the seams. The 'lonely' factor is compressed into the much more relatable track, 'Limitless'. Let's be honest... there really is, "a certain kind of lonely where you sleep in your jeans." It's one of those Debbie Downer facts that becomes much more digestible in the form of a delicious song like this. Those final oooh's that emerge as everything winds up are the icing on the cake. I think I'm hungry? Enough with the digestive talk. Moving along, 'Begin Again' is a stunning album highlight and our first ballad and a true testament to Washington's songwriting talents. And it's not even the best ballad on the album. That's right, kiddies... more than one ballad on an album in 2014! Hallelujah, praise Yeezus."


#6. Himalayan
by Band of Skulls




What we said: "I love watching the development of a band and while I'm not going to go all hipster on you and say I've known Band Of Skulls since their very beginning, it has been a fascinating journey watching them grow from their first album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey five years ago to Himalayan this year. It's a more mature Band Of Skulls that take us from the pure rock of 'Asleep At The Wheel' to the blues of 'Hoochie Coochie' to the tragically beautiful guitar driven tale of 'You Are All That I Am Not'. Each release of theirs has grown a teeny but more than the last and in Himalayan, Matt, Russell and Emma have released a timeless album, one that will be just as impressive ten years from now as it would it been had it been released ten years ago and it takes some special talent to write and record music like that."


#5. In Tongues
by Ella Hooper




What we said: "It's been a long time coming, but In Tongues is ready to get out there into the world. Safe to say, the wait was well worth it. You can already tell that this is an album that will stand the test of time and have you coming back for more years from now. While it fits in today's music landscape, there's so many elements of it that are timeless. Long time fans will not be disappointed and with any luck, new fans will find their way to Ella Hooper too. She's confidently stepped out on her own, proving her music can be not only as good as what's come before, but better. While this is Ella Hooper's first solo album, I can only hope it's the first of many, because In Tongues is a knockout record from one of the hardest working artists in music today. Go give it a listen!"


#4. 1989
by Taylor Swift




What we said: "I don't think any artist has ever moved as spectacularly away from their previous genre to a new one like Taylor Swift has with 1989. We throw this out every now and then, but the album is actually pop perfection. From the mammoth hook of 'Style' to the self-deprecating and incredibly catchy 'Blank Space' and... did we just say catchy? Because nothing in this world is as catchy as 'Shake It Off'. You won't be able to shake the damn thing off. Well played, Swift. With 1989, Taylor Swift went from that country crossover girl to officially claiming the title of biggest pop star in the planet. The music on the album is worthy of her being called that." 


#3. Lazaretto
by Jack White




What we said: "I could talk about all the tracks one by one, how 'Entitlement' has such a beautiful arrangement, how 'Just One Drink' tackles a complex topic and turns it into a nursery rhyme swing, I could write a thousand words, I could say a thousand things and explain the thousand ways I consider myself a fan, but ultimately, what we have here is a Jack White album. It's an album that oozes confidence and so it should, Jack White is a man that knows the industry he is involved in, knows how to play it and knows how to write the rules his way, but he's also an artist that backs up all of those things with some incredible talent, someone who understands what he loves, who knows how to pay tribute to the American rock style without sounding old, who smothers his blues music in meaning and indulges his love of country in a way that nurtures and delights it."


#2. I Never Learn
by Lykke Li




What we said: "I've read that Lykke was attempting to move away from any 'pop star' labels and make her mark as a singer-songwriter with I Never Learn. But that doesn't mean she can't bust out crazy-good hooks like what we get on 'Never Gonna Love Again'. As far as hooks go, it's at like... 80s power ballad levels of amazing. Even the imagery she's creating is just that little bit 80s. 'Every time the rain falls think of me, on a lonely highway, how can we turn around the heartache, oh I, I'm alone tonight babe, and I'm never gonna love again." Heck yes. 80s. 'Sleeping Alone' works in all the right ways as a closing track, just like the opening one did. Showing that she really does never learn, the song and album end with a promise that one of our favourite Swedes will one day be with her former love again. Even though she's just spent half an hour telling you why they shouldn't be together and how hurt she was when it all ended. Where are her friends at? Obviously she doesn't have some Sex and the City circle that gathers on Fridays to get hammered and compare war stories. But if she did... she'd totally be a Charlotte. What?"


#1. The Golden Echo
by Kimbra




What we said: "How do you avoid the sophomore slump? You release an album like The Golden Echo. You push forward with an uncompromising vision of your work. You build on what your fans have come to expect of you and then you invite them to take a journey on which you find yourself realising your full potential. And that's what Kimbra lives up to on The Golden Echo; her potential. With Vows, an album that's still one of the best debuts around, we knew it was only a taste of the amazing career that Kimbra Johnson would have. On her second album, Kimbra steps out with all the confidence in the world, exceeding all the expectations placed upon her in the process. Vows was the statement that made us take notice. The Golden Echo is all the reason in the world for us to keep our well-placed faith in Kimbra as strong as it's ever been. When I said it's the best pop album of the year, I really meant it's the best album of the year. What else has to be said?"


2013 Winner:
Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady
Runner Up: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito


2012 Winner:
Amanda Palmer and The Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre Is Evil
Runner-Up: Jack White - Blunderbuss


2011 Winner:
Seeker Lover Keeper - Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner Up: Kimbra - Vows


2010 Winner:
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs      

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 Scene Awards - Woman of the Year





WOMAN OF THE YEAR:


#6. Katy Perry




In the world of pop superstars, Taylor Swift may have dominated the headlines and Beyonce is still everyone’s favourite wife of Jay-Z but there’s someone that just keeps on keeping on in the background there, doing her thing while the other one’s siblings fight in elevators and the other one gets all the publicity she can from not allowing her music to be listened to for free (which cannot actually be stopped these days Ms Swift, but that’s another story). Little ol’ Katy Perry, singin her little heart out, dancing about with lollipops and dressing like a cat, singing about dark horses and birthdays and what she’s doing and how she does it, basically doing all the things that pop stars should do, just making everyone happy. Maybe? When I’ve had a bad day and one of my best friends asks; “did you think of Katy Perry today? No? Well, that’s why you had a bad day then!”, he’s probably right. Katy Perry makes everything alright. And for me, that’s a good enough reason for her to be one of our Women of the Year. (Jo Michelmore)


#5. Thelma Plum




Like a few others you may have noticed on our little blog, there are some artists we keep talking about and one of those is little old Thelma. We’re not going to deny our collective obsession. There’s a reason for it. Did you hear her debut EP Rosie? It was more than just a collection of songs; it was an experience, an immediate contender for life soundtrack from first play. It was difficult to know how she could follow that, but did something this year that a lot of artists fail to do and she not only impressed us but a whole new legion of fans with her follow up EP, Monsters. What she did was simple; ignore everyone else and just do what she does best, write and perform from the heart. Every track another slice of her life and then somehow a little slice of mine, only four tracks but such delicious tracks they are. She took a courageous leap into some more electronic sounds than her previous release, but they didn’t alienate her audience, they only made the experience a little more intense, with perfect tales of anguish, heartache, regret and rhetorical questions we all need answers to.


So many words about Thelma, this time around, I could write about the praise she is receiving, I could write about her awesome 'Like A Version' performance of Chet Faker's 'Gold' this year, I could write about her live performances and her giant future in music and all sorts of reasons she deserves to be on our Woman of the Year list, but there’s a more personal reason she makes that list for me. Because for me, only a few artists manage to pick me apart and put me together again in song, which is something Thelma’s music has done over and over again. As she sings, things always come and things always go, but my love for her will probably always be. After all, there are not many people who know about all the monsters that hide under my bed and only artists like Thelma help them go away. (Jo Michelmore)


#4. Tkay Maidza





She chitty bang bang-ed her way into our hearts 4eva in 2014 with the monster tracks 'U-Huh', 'Finish Them' and 'Switch Lanes', tracks that comprised her debut Switch Tape EP and Tkay Maidza is showing no signs of slowing down in 2015. Where is she at the moment? Showing everyone up at Falls. Where should she be on 'Straya Day. Smashing it on the triple J Hottest 100. But this is about 2014, yeah and if there's one artist's music we've been playing anywhere and everywhere this year it's Tkay Maidza's. With the support of our national youth broadcaster firmly in her corner, it came as no surprise that Maidza drew a huge crowd to her BIGSOUND Live showcase that saw the crowd jumping around with glee throughout the entire performance. The international buzz surrounding her has been building and building, with well received performances at CMJ in New York and her latest single, 'Switch Lanes' setting her up as the heir apparent to rap throne abandoned by artists we're going to stop comparing Maidza to. Because she's not like anyone else out there. She's Tkay Maidza and she's consistently been one of the best artists in all of music in 2014. Look for that trend to continue in 2015. (Matt Bond)


#3. Beyoncé




Surfbort. Graining on wood and so on and so forth. Queen Bey "surprised" everyone late last year when she released her fifth, self-titled album without so much as a, "hey y'all, my album is out, woah-oh-oh oh-oh-oh oh-oh-oh." The "super-secretive" strategy paid off, with Beyoncé nabbing her fifth US #1 in as many albums plus three-day sales of over 800 000. It was lauded with the best reviews of her career and has become a strong contender to walk away with Album of the Year at the next Grammys. The single 'Drunk In Love' is sorta/kinda a pop-culture phenomenon and you can throw lines from it around town like those at the start of this write-up. "We woke up in a kitchen saying how the hell did this shit happen, baby?" Outstanding. She even managed to make a line about someone wishing she was pound cake pretty cool on 'Flawless' too. Is there anything 'Yoncé can't do? I don't know, maybe... but she can totally steal the show at the MTV Video Music Awards by schooling all others in a 16 minute performance that broke the internet long before Kim K pretended to. I'll be honest though... Bey earns all of my love with her spectacular performance following the Solange/Jay-Z elevator brawl. In her eyes it was like Fight Club. And the first rule is you don't talk about it. So just smile and continue with your day, yeah?


  

As Miley Cyrus once sang... don't you wish that you could be a fly on the wall? A creepy little, sneaky little fly on the wall. Yep. Love you, Bey. (Matt Bond)


Runner-Up: Taylor Swift




There is nothing I can write on our blog that hasn’t been written about Taylor Swift before. She’s been the perfect pop star for 2014. Former country-pop sweetheart turned straight pop-sweetheart, there’s little to be said that you wouldn’t have heard before. You want to know how many albums she sold this year? Google can tell you that. You want to know how old she is? The title of her latest album can tell you that. You want to know about her back catalogue being pulled from Spotify, in the hope that people would hand over some cash to buy it instead of streaming it? Your itunes account can probably tell you about that. You want to know how many people have seen her super fun and sometimes a little weird clips? Youtube can probably tell you that. You want to know about her ex-boyfriends? I’m sure some gossip website or trashy magazine can tell you all about that.


What all of those things can’t tell you is how many times I’ve sung along to ‘Shake It Off’ in the car. What all of those things can’t tell you is how many times I’ve bopped my head in time to ‘Blank Space’. What all of those things can’t tell you is how much I smile at the 80s synths and vocals of ‘Out Of The Woods’ and what all those things can’t tell you is how happy I get when I hear the simple pop that is Taylor Swift, from this year and all the ones before. She just keeps doing her thing and she does it really, really well, regardless of all the things you can and can’t find when you Google and Youtube and Spotify. She’s the perfect definition of pop star and that’s the reason she’s included in our Woman of the Year list. (Jo Michelmore)

 
WINNER: Kimbra





No other artist in music this year was as fearless, pushed as many boundaries or realised their ambition in the way that Kimbra Johnson did in 2014. I don't really need to justify that in any other way then to say go and listen to her sophomore album, The Golden Echo. Kimbra went out of her way to rope in the right mix of collaborators that would see her vision come to life and the results were spectacular. The exploding choruses of 'Teen Heat', '90s Music' and 'Carolina' will set your heart racing. You won't be able to stop yourself from dancing to the funk infused and undeniably shake-your-groove-thing worthy tracks 'Goldmine', 'Miracle' and 'Madhouse'. And I'll give you some side-eye if I can tell your heart isn't breaking throughout 'As You Are'.


The Golden Echo ends the year as one of our absolute favourite albums of not just this year, but any. Completely different on a sonic level from its predecessor, Vows, this time around Kimbra proved she's capable of so much more than everything we had come to know about her. And we already knew she was an extraordinary artist and performer. Now there's like no word for how good she is. So I'm going to make one up... Kimbrastic. Whenever something is so good you just can't find a word for it... Kimbrastic. She might not have had the chart success she deserved, but that doesn't seem to have phased her at all. Kimbra's an artist, not your average pop star and real success isn't just in album sales. The quality of her music moved to another level in 2014 and while we don't know how she'll top The Golden Echo, we'll be as excited as ever to hear what comes next because she's our miracle (miracle). (Matt Bond) 


2013 Winner:
Lorde
Runner-Up: Janelle Monae


2012 Winner:
Amanda Palmer
Runner-Up: Santigold


2011 Winner:
Kimbra
Runner-Up: Adele


2010 Winner:
M.I.A

2014 Scene Awards - Man of the Year




Why, yes... there were dudes making music in 2014. You might think otherwise considering the ladies dominated the year like no other before it, but there were man music people around, doing their thing. Many of the big names danced around the spotlight without really jumping in (Kanye, Jay-Z), some decided to go into politics instead of capitalising on the success of one of the biggest songs of ever (Gotye) and some just sucked. And I don't even know if J Biebs released music this year. But he still sucks and blows. But we've got the four finest fellas in music this year sorted out. You can read about them below.


MAN OF THE YEAR:


#4. Sam Smith




Some artists win the BBC's 'Sound of' poll and fade away without making much of an impact. Some take the crown and fully live up to all the expectations that come with such a title. Sam Smith certainly falls into the latter category. After being awards the 'Sound of 2014' prize, Smith would go on to have one of the biggest singles in the world throughout 2014, the massive and anthemic 'Stay With Me'. Bar staff on karaoke night will be hating it for years to come, but that's just because people will butcher it, not because it's not an awesome piece of music. His debut album, In The Lonely Hour would end the year as the only album to sell over a million copies in the US and the UK. It's also up for six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist aka the big four. They might have marketed him as a male Adele at the start of the year, but Smith's voice and music have made it clear that he's his own, unique artist. (Matt Bond) 


#3. Dave Grohl




Daaaave. It's always going to be a good year when The Grohl shows up with the Foo Fighters and 2014 was no exception. He fully lived up to his status as music's Mr. Nice Guy when he made up with Courtney Love at Nirvana's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, putting to bed one of music's longest running feuds. Which is secretly a shame, because the insults those two would sling at each other were pretty great. But yay... friends. That wasn't even the most exciting thing Grohl was a part of this year. When it was announced the Foo Fighters would return with their eighth studio album, Sonic Highways, everyone was happy. Then we were told there would be an 8-episode HBO series to accompany the album. The internet got a little bit crazy with that news. And with good reason. The show, Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways would give us an insight into Grohl's music making process like never before on each of the eight stops in US cities where they would record a track. I didn't think I could like him anymore than I already did after last years Sound City documentary, but Dave Grohl is good at proving people wrong and he did that again in 2014. (Matt Bond)


Runner-Up: Harts




When Matt and I were discussing the Man of the Year nominees for these Scene Awards, I’m going to be honest and say there was a lot of this going on; “er….um….yep…so…you want some ice cream?” which says more about how many women are dominating our music world lately than it says about our mutual love of ice cream, even though that love is pretty intense. After much thought, I realised there was one artist who simply had to be included in this little list and that guy is also the only Australian contender. And for those of you who don’t know who he is yet, let me introduce you to Harts.


If you google Harts, you’ll probably come across some quotes from Prince, who has declared himself a fan, which is pretty impressive in itself, but there’s a lot more to Darren Hart than that. Hailing from Melbourne, he is one man music making machine, not in that old-man-creepy-circus-act kind of way, more in that-what-an-amazing-talent-how-can-one-human-play-so-many-instruments-and-hear-so-many-sounds-and-put-them-all-together-in-such-a-great-way, kind of way. While he’s been hanging about recording in his home studio for a few years now and garnering the interest of blogs and bluesy-rootsy-funk-rock music lovers across the internet, it was the release of his debut album Daydreamer this year that has proven that amazing music is amazing music; regardless of film clips, budgets, record labels and any of the politics of the music industry and all it brings. His vocal is perfect, his production world class and his skills with all of his instruments are something a lot of artists should be more than a little jealous of. Some regular play of his song ‘Red And Blue’ on JJJ toward the end of this year should ensure a few more people start hearing just how incredible he is and if all goes well, over a couple more discussions and ice creams with Matt, I’ll be saying he’s going to be appearing somewhere in our countdown and Scene Awards next year and both Harts and all the ice cream is something I look forward to. (Jo Michelmore)


WINNER: Jack White




A little memory from this year. One cold and windy day, in June, just before sunrise, my phone started ringing. I answered, slightly confused, but the sounds I heard made up my fave gig call, ever. My fellow blogger Matt’s voice, screaming at me all the way from Glastonbury, something along the lines of; “I hope you can hear this!” and the deliciously familiar chords of Jack White’s guitar, drifting halfway across the world to my little darkened bedroom at 4am.


“Oh Jack oh sigh” is what I said that early morning but there’s a lot more to him than that. The Wikipedia says he is an American musician, producer and occasional actor. I just say he’s amazing. He may own his own record label, he may be a member of a bazillion (possible exaggeration) bands, he may be a sought after producer, he may be seen as a little too opinionated in the mainstream media but all of those things matter very little when you hit play (or drop the needle) on his second solo album, Lazaretto, released in June this year. The riffs starts, the organ kicks in and suddenly you’re in the deep south of the USA singing “lordy lord” with an accent you never knew you possessed. It’s a Jack White love fest that continues through the whole album and it’s one you’ll gladly be involved in time and time again. It’s an album that set record sales into a frenzy this year and when I say ‘record’ sales, that’s literally what I mean, Lazaretto was the biggest selling vinyl since 1994 (beating another of my faves Pearl Jam!) and that made vinyl-loving hipsters of the world rejoice and raise their mason jars in collective cheers to the new, possibly unexpected godfather of vinyl.


Despite everything the world and the world’s hipsters do and don’t love about Jack White, his talent with those guitars of his is undeniable, making them sing and evoke emotions in ways a lot of singers wish they could with voice, making his listeners feel all the feels with just a simple bunch of strings. And I could be a little crackers, but there’s something a little elusive about Mr White that makes him all that more desirable. I can’t get enough of those sounds of his and he’s also part of one of my favourite memories from 2014. All of that, he's been crowned our Man of the Year once before AND he has inspired one of the only sayings that seems to have stayed with this blog from the first time I wrote about him and it's likely to stay for a little while yet. Probably because it actually does say all I’ll ever need to say about him. Oh Jack. Oh sigh.. (Jo Michelmore)


2013 Winner:
Eminem
Runner-Up: Pharrell Williams


2012 Winner:
Jack White
Runner-Up: Frank Ocean


2011 Winner:
Gotye
Runner-Up: Justin Vernon (Bon Iver)


2010 Winner:
Kanye West 

Monday, 29 December 2014

2014 Scene Awards - Group of the Year




Why hello there. We've only got four Scene Awards left to hand out this year, which means it's time for Group of the Year tonight, Man and Woman of the Year tomorrow and Album of the Year on New Year's Eve. Party time, excellent! In this collection of our favourite groups, an international act lands a nomination for the first time in the 2014 Scene Awards. Australian music... why you gotta be so good? Anywho... let us meet our foreign friends and say hello once more to three of our fave local bands. Enjoy!


GROUP OF THE YEAR:


#4. Band of Skulls




Oh Band Of Skulls, how do I describe what I think of you? I love your brand of rock, your sharp chords and your bluesy ways. I love your heavy drums, your way of making my head nod with some serious force, I love your combination of rock and roll and I love your sound as a tribute to all the rock that has come before you, yet you stand with your eyes and your guitars only facing forward. I love your understated look, the uniform of shirts and jeans and boots worn by all the greats of rock and worn with such discreet confidence. I love your third album Himalayan from this year as much as I love your whole collection and I love that quick fire beat of ‘Hoochi Coochie’ as much as I love its backward clip and its surprising end. I love that you will always hold a place as one of my favourite live music moments this year, that after a long day your subtle entrance followed by the wall of guitars and drums and sweat on stage filled me with an energy only live music does. I love that three humans alone can create a sound that makes me happy with every listen and makes me want to jump up and down manically. I love that I have been lucky enough to watch you grow as a band and a sound over the last few years and I love that I consider you one of my favourite bands, because I love that I love rock and you, Russell, Emma and Matt, are the epitome of that word. Band Of Skulls, how do I describe what I think of you? I think it’s pretty simple really. Two little words. Rock. Love. (Jo Michelmore)


#3. Dear Plastic




Dear Plastic are one band I found myself loving more and more throughout 2014. They followed up a stellar EP with an even more stunning debut album, The Thieves Are Babes in October. We couldn't get enough of their singles 'Buck Up and Pay The Reaper' and 'Epic Delay', with the latter enjoying a nice and well deserved run at the top of our weekly Top 25. While their clip for 'Buck Up and Pay The Reaper' may have led to divided opinions between our own Jo and Nayt, I think it's safe to say there was universal acclaim from us for the clip that came with 'Epic Delay'. It's perfect in its simplicity. The lovely Lou Endicott (we miss you, Lou!) has had the pleasure of seeing these dark trip hop-ers performing live around Melbourne and perfectly described the band in one of her reviews as;


"Dear Plastic are not for the feint hearted. They are a flagship unto themselves and the genre of electronica. And what they do they do darn well. They follow no leaders and hold nothing back to create full, rich and melancholic ambient soundscapes. With their hints of pshychadelia, their nod to 90s trip hop and their stand out vocals, they have won me over as a fan." - Lou Endicott


They certainly won me over too. Their music is brilliant and I have no problems saying it's not appreciated at the level it should be, but that happens and I'll shut up about it and say that I really hope that the hard work they put in and the excellent quality of their sound pays off with the recognition they so richly deserve. Scarlette Baccini is a vocal powerhouse I want to hear more of. Josh Moult, Danny Cox, Cory Mollison and Nathan Clark make music I want to hear more of. Dear Plastic is a group I want to hear more of. And I hope we get to hear something new soon. Until then, do yourself a favour and go and listen to The Thieves Are Babes. You can file that request under 'things you won't regret'. (Matt Bond) 


Runner-Up: Kingswood




I owe Kingswood an apology. Like all the classic tales of love, my relationship with them has been a rocky one. I remember clearly the first day I laid eyes on them, all those years ago now at a festival, I can’t remember which one it was, but I do remember it being mid-morning, the sun blazing down, the queues for the port-a-loos already too long and the wait for the band I really wanted to see looming ahead. I remember the distinct thought of “schmeh” as they played, probably trying their hardest to impress the couple of hundred or so people who were watching (me included) but some of us were just too exhausted already to care. I have learnt my lesson and now I know how much they rock, they’ve proven it over and over again on stage, they proved it to me at BIGSOUND this year and they proved it once and for all in August with the release of their debut album Microscopic Wars, which featured one of my favourite acronyms, song titles and tracks for this year; ‘ICFTYDLM’ which ended up with me feeling LUMTP. (That’s my new favourite acronym, by the way.) When I found out they’d recorded it in Nashville with Vance Powell (who has worked with Jack White, oh Jack, oh sigh…) there was little chance I was going to dislike it. They also possess a fine collection of beards, which means Katie Langley is a fan and I’m not going to complain about their facial fashion. The facts are, we may have started with a rocky relationship, but Kingswood and I? We’re tight now. Rock. Blues. Kingswood. Me. Lots of love. LUMTP. Love You More Than Pie (duh). LOL. (Jo Michelmore)


WINNER: Little May




We know. We write about Little May a lot. Like A LOT. You know what though? A band with music this good deserves to have us writing about them a lot. They deserve to have every music blog writing about them a lot. They deserve to have everyone listening to them because their music is real, honest music that is begging to be heard and loved and listened to some more. We've loved watching Liz Drummond, Annie Hamilton and Hannah Field's rise this year and we'll love watching it next year and the year after and... you get where I'm going with this, right? In 2014 they scored a ton of airplay on triple J with the tracks 'Hide' and 'Dust'. The massive cheer from the crowd that started when the opening notes of 'Hide' rung out at BIGSOUND Live showed just how much love there was out there for Little May's music. That was the first time I got to see the ladies performing live and I don't think my simple words can do their performance justice, so I will recommend you go and see them for yourself. Those gorgeous Little May harmonies are arguably even better live. 


We knew it was only a matter of time before Little May went global and they followed up BIGSOUND by showcasing their talents at CMJ in New York and they gigged it up in London too. Come on, you know the Brits will be all over the folky goodness that Little May provide. Oh, they also signed to Island Records in the UK and Capitol Records in the US. Reading that news led to a lot of cheering around these parts. Little May delivered in a big way in 2014 with what made us fall in love with them in the first place... their music. The Little May EP is a must-listen. 'Dust', 'Bones' and 'Midnight Hour' became new additions to our life soundtracks and further solidified these Sydney-siders as our favourite new storytellers. 


We know we write about Little May a lot. We hope we get to keep writing about Little May a lot. And with the news that a debut album is to be expected in 2015 y'all had better get used to us writing about Little May a whole lot more. We can't wait to hear more and we can't wait to see them again live soon. If you're heading to any of ole Bernard Fanning's or Angus and Julia Stone's shows in early 2015, you'll have the pleasure of seeing Little May. Just don't expect to see them in those supporting slots for long. The next stop is the world stage and we couldn't be happier for them. (Matt Bond)


2013 Winner:
Chvrches
Runner-Up: Little May


2012 Winner:
Texas Tea
Runner-Up: Garbage


2011 Winner:
Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-Up: Little Dragon


2010 Winner:
Arcade Fire
 
 

Sunday, 28 December 2014

2014 Scene Awards - EP of the Year




We’ve covered new artists, Australian artists and best videos but the fourth instalment of our 2014 Scene Awards brings us to that little thing we love to love, the EP. A teeny glimpse of an artist’s work, the EP is such a tease, offering so much and only making us want more from some of our favourites. With so many favourites, it was hard to keep this list down to four. Don't ask us how, but we managed to. There may have been some office brawls over it, but we're not supposed to talk about our secret fight club. Oh no... we've said too much. Here's our fave EP's of the year! 


EP OF THE YEAR:


#4. Naked by HOWQUA




When I saw Howqua supporting Little May at their sold out show at the Black Bear earlier this month, I was standing quietly at the side of stage, watching a man perform with his entire heart and soul to a half empty room and a whole bunch of people trying to purchase their boutique beer and beverages at the bar. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good boutique beer as much as the next person, but there was absolutely no way I could take my eyes and ears off the stage when this man was standing on it. When his set finished, I couldn’t wait to get to the merch table at the back, because there was no way I was going to let him leave without letting me purchase what has become a constant in my life and my last late year contender for our EP of the Year Award.


The things he bought to the stage that night are exactly the things that I walked away with in that tiny cardboard package; simple stories of heartbreak and courage, yearnings and fears all wrapped up in soothing synths and driving beats and emotional guitars and maybe most importantly that voice, that unbelievably powerful, spine tingling voice of his which evokes emotions and picks apart a teeny part of my heart every time he sings those lyrics; “waiting for the sun to rise, waiting for the sun to set, waiting for the sun to rise again…” They are a representation of the whole EP, so true and so simple. Sometimes it seems the simplest things are the most affecting and Howqua has managed to turn the simplest of emotions into song and create an EP that will hang around as one of my favourites jot just for this year, but for a long time yet. (Jo Michelmore)


#3. is it right? by Our Man In Berlin




If you’d told me 18 months ago when I first welcomed Our Man In Berlin into my beloved music collection that I’d be writing about their EP at the end of 2014, I may not have believed you. Not because I doubted whether I’d still like them, I just don’t believe in fortune tellers and all that crap. What I do believe is that when a band is this good, that talent should be celebrated and hence when Matt and I were discussing the best EP’s of the year, this was the first one that popped into my mind.


From the urgent beats throughout to their awesome ability to balance light and dark simultaneously in each song, from the charmingly addictive sounds of Justin Martin’s keyboard skills and the enchanting sounds that Trevor Shotam manages to pull out of a guitar, to that spine tingling and incredible voice of Haydn Mansell’s, is it right? showcases the talent of five guys so early in their career already willing to experiment with sound, test their boundaries as musicians and take their listeners on an intensely enjoyable journey with them. It’s a journey I look forward to continuing through 2015, with new songs already being written and recorded. Maybe I should start believing and get that fortune teller to let me know when I get to hear them, because I can’t wait. (Jo Michelmore)

Runner-Up: Little May by Little May




Little May are no strangers to these here Scene Awards. Why, just yesterday they took out the Australian Artist of the Year award! A big part of that win can be attributed to their knockout debut EP, Little May. We knew it was going to be one of our favourites from the moment it was announced. After all, in 2013 we heard the EP songs ‘Boardwalks’ and ‘Hide’ and with those two on the track list it was already a winner. ‘Boardwalks’ was almost the yin to the yang of ‘Hide’. Bittersweet regret followed by a darker betrayal. Each as commanding of your attention as the other and wonderfully showing how Little May’s Liz Drummond, Hannah Field and Annie Hamilton can easily hold influence over your emotions. You get to take a ride on the emotional rollercoaster throughout all of Little May.


You can fall apart to the smart and sublime pop number that is ‘Bones’, cherish the happy memories of days gone by on ‘Dust’ and understand why Little May’s music has been labelled ghost folk on the haunting ‘Midnight Hour’. These five songs that make up the Little May EP flow seamlessly and expertly, each showing a new side of this talented trio. We called Little May the next great storytellers in music and when you listen to these tracks you’ll understand why. It’s like you’re sitting in a living room with the band while they talk to you about the ups and downs of life. It’s awesome. And it leaves me, as always, more than just a little excited about what’s to come from Little May. The internets say a debut album is expected in 2015. Just a little something to make you even more willing to embrace the new year. Until then though, we’ve got the Little May EP to listen to over and over until we meet Little May again. Please don't stay away too long. (Matt Bond)


WINNER: Monsters by Thelma Plum 




Oh hey there, two time EP of the Year winner Thelma Plum. She took top honours last year with Rosie and decided that once is never enough, so 2014 saw the release of Monsters and here we are again. EP of the Year. What? We’re allowed to think the only reason Thelma released an EP this year was so she could win another highly prestigious Scene Award. Just like last year, we never got around to doing up a proper review at the time of release. To be fair, I was in Europe and started to write one up on a bus, but I kept listening to ‘Candle’ and at the time I was really hating on a certain someone and the essence of the review was people are the worst and whoever hurt Thelma to have her writing a song like ‘Candle’ is the worst and there was a lot of rage so it’s probably best that didn’t become a thing.


What is good, is that Monsters became a ‘thing’. Not so much a ‘thing’ as a stunning piece of work once more from Thelma, we saw her step out of her acoustic comfort zone and embrace some highly fashionable electronic touches, with the production assistance of M-Phazes. She may or may not have stalked him until he worked with her. The lesson here is that stalking pays off, because Plum’s new venture more than delivered. The production sets Monsters apart from Rosie and gives it an identity unique to what we know Plum is able to do musically. But all of the trademarks you’d want from her music remain and thankfully so. Striking vocals that while sweet, pack a disarmingly effective emotional punch. Painfully honest lyrics you can’t help but relate to. And then there’s that ‘fuck you’ attitude we’ve come to love, but this time without actually busting out some swears. A Thelma Plum EP with not a ‘fuck’ in sight? Doesn’t mean that attitude isn’t there.


There’s the moments of heartache and heartbreak (‘Monsters’ and ‘Candle’), a gorgeous reminder of the past (‘Young In Love’) and an unexpected, Tarantino-esque party starter (‘How Much Does Your Love Cost’). The last song mentioned made it to #2 on our Top 114 Songs of 2014 countdown. Because it’s la-di-da-di-fucking amazing. There’s just something about Thelma Plum that makes me swear like a sailor. Thelma Plum did it again in 2014. Since there’s whispers of a debut LP for 2015, it looks like we’ll be seeing her graduate from this category to the Album of the Year one very soon. Artists to watch in 2015? Make sure Thelma Plum is on that list. And if you haven’t already, go get this EP. (Matt Bond)


2013 Winner:
Rosie EP by Thelma Plum
Runner-Up: The Love Club EP by Lorde


2012 Winner:
Told You So by Cub Scouts Sport 
Runner-Up: Love Lost In Design EP by Neon Wolf

Saturday, 27 December 2014

2014 Scene Awards - Australian Artist Of The Year




So the video of the year was a good one and everyone loves knowing about the best new artists they should be loving but you know what we could spend days talking about, because there's just so many artists worthy of being spoken about? Australian music! That brings us to Australian Artist of the Year. It was hard to choose only four, but because we are dedicated bloggers and all round good guys(?) we did the hard work and listened to some tunes. Possibly while drinking some beverages and having a BBQ chip or two. Oi! It's the Austrayian way, mate! We're sure these four nominees have enjoyed a BBQ chip or two in their time. Maybe?


AUSTRALIAN ARTIST OF THE YEAR


#4. Holy Holy




Maybe this should be my favourite of all the Scene Awards we give out, after all, I am Australian and I live in Australia, but when I listen to these musicians, ‘Australian’ isn’t the first thing that pops to my mind. Amazing, inspiring, awesome, remarkable, incredible, unbelievable and a whole lot of wow are all words that come to mind. From the beginning, with the first taste of Holy Holy in ‘Impossible Like You’ last year and then the release of their stunning EP The Pacific this year; everything they have done has screamed all of those previously mentioned words, and more. ‘House Of Cards’ was a rollicking sense of escapism rolled into four minutes of brilliance, ‘History’ was a sweet little emotional investment and has also become one of JJJ’s favourites this year, which means it’s not just us here at IMKOS, some patrons of the Black Bear Lodge (here in Brisbane) and a few hundred people in Melbourne who know the talents of Holy Holy, but a whole nation of music loving types who all agree.


So while all the positive words come to mind whenever I hear the sounds of Oscar Dawson, Timothy Carroll, Ryan Strathie and Graham Ritchie, there’s a secondary bonus when I realise their tales told through song are their own and their own is Australian. Which is something that I am too. Maybe that’s why I like them so much or maybe it’s just because they are all of those things I mentioned at the beginning and this too: outstanding and definitely one of my favourites of 2014. (Jo Michelmore)


#3. Ella Hooper





In regards to her music, Ella Hooper had a really good 2014. Her debut album, In Tongues more than delivered and stands as one of our absolute favourites of the year. From the sleek dark pop of ‘Haxan’ to the rock and roll triumph that is ‘Wild Stallionz’ and the haunting album closer, ‘Last Rites’. Brilliant from start to finish and we still can’t get enough of it. For me though, what really secures Ella a nod as one of our Australian Artists of the Year is that she does a whole lot to promote and support up and coming Australian music acts.

There’s her radio work, presenting the Australian Top 20 which gives so many new artists an outlet for promoting their music. Then there’s her mentoring position with the Telstra Road to Discovery initiative as well as her new role this year as the ambassador for the Melbourne Music Bank competition. It’s nice to see someone that’s essentially a veteran of the Australian music industry supporting new talent. And when she’s not doing that, she’s kicking butt on her own with fantastic music. One of Australia’s finest? You better believe it. (Matt Bond)


Runner-Up: Thelma Plum

 
 


Thelma Plum represents the very best that Australian music has to offer the world. The end. Ok, I’ll ramble on for a bit… Plum followed up last year’s truly exceptional Rosie EP by teaming with M-Phazes for the more electronic influenced yet equally amazing Monsters EP. It's a really good EP. Like, really, really good. As in, you should be listening to it right now. ‘Young In Love’, ‘Candle’, ‘Monsters’ and the lead-single (and our #2 song of the year) ‘How Much Does Your Love Cost?’ left us and all who heard them singing the praises of the super talented Ms Plum.

With a debut album expected in 2015, hopefully Thelma Plum will get the chance to take her music out into the world. She’s not just one of our favourite Australian artists, she’s one of our favourite artists period. And we’ve got a feeling the rest of the world is going to love her just as much as her Aussie fans. Seriously, just you wait until one of her tracks pops up on The Vampire Diaries or some show about a diary or vampires or something. Not that I watch The Vampire Diaries. Moving right along… (Matt Bond)


WINNER: Little May





Let me tell you what happens when you google the words ‘Little May’. There are words like haunting, beautiful, a band that stops you in your tracks, next big thing, massive crush, indie folk wonder, totally 100% amazeballs and the very best in music (and those last ones may have appeared on this here blog at some stage, maybe).


Now let me tell you what happens when you take a listen to their self-titled debut EP. Moments of your life flash before your eyes, moments of joy when each song finishes and the next starts because you know this is something special that has entered your soundtrack, moments of swaying to the irresistible chords of Liz and Annie’s during ‘Boardwalks’, moments of being convinced you’re the best singer in the world when you can’t help but harmonise with Hannah in that chorus in ‘Hide’, moments of tears with the words of ‘Bones’, moments of goose bumps when you realise what is happening three quarters of the way through ‘Dust’ and moments of giant smiles because you can't help it when listening to one of your favourite bands.


Let me tell you what happens when you see Little May play live. It’s all of those things that happen when you listen to the EP, multiplied over and over again, because live music is something incredible, especially when it’s as honest and raw and as fun as Little May. You’ll see a band that are totally in tune with each other’s performance and if you’re really lucky, you’ll be part of a sing-along that will be more intense and more fun than most you’ve sung along with and you’ll see three women who have worked incredibly hard, smile and giggle and hold back some tears at the realisation that their musical dreams are coming true right in front of them and you’ll smile yourself, because it’s so wonderful to be a part of that. 


Now let me tell you what happens when you write on a blog about music and you declare yourself a fan of an Australian band that you simply can’t get enough of. You give them your award for Australian Artist Of The Year and you re-quote things you've said before, like this; "This is the type of talent that cannot go unnoticed and I'm going to be so happy for them when we've said all we can say about them and the only thing left to do is press play." I think that time has come and I couldn’t be happier. (Jo Michelmore)


2013 Winner:
Thelma Plum
Runner-Up: JONES jnr


2012 Winner:
Texas Tea
Runner-Up: Sarah Blasko


2011 Winner:
Seeker Lover Keeper
Runner-Up: Gotye


2010 Winner:
Sia 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

2014 Scene Awards - Best New Artist




We move on from our favourite videos of 2014 to take a look at some new friends that rocked our musical world throughout the year. That's right, it's time to hand out our Scene Award for the Best New Artist to come into our lives this year. We've got a feeling these four acts are going to have an even bigger 2015 too. Let's meet them!


BEST NEW ARTIST:


#4. Montaigne




The concept of the new artist category is kind of funny; because while they’re new to us, the likelihood is that they’ve been working and dreaming hard about being a full time musician for a long time. I guess that’s why I like this category so much, I love the idea of dreams coming true and after the year that Montaigne has had, I suspect those dreams are much more reality these days. Jess Cerro was a finalist in the JJJ Unearthed High comp two years ago, but she gave it a couple of years, finished off all that high school stuff, lived a little life and what she’s become is the fabulous Montaigne; which means a more mature sound than we first heard and some intense subject matters wrapped up in slightly off beats, keys and synths that evoke all sorts of emotions I’m sometimes not totally comfortable with, which makes them just perfect. Combine all of that with Jess’ delightful voice, which can hit notes in ways a lot only dream about, the release of her debut EP Life Of Montaigne, with all its waves of emotion and anger (hello ‘I Am Not An End’), confusion (hello ‘I’m A Fantastic Wreck’) and bittersweet words (hello ‘A Cinematic Plea For An End’) and you have yourself one of some of our favourite songs of the year, one of our fave clips of the year and there you have one of our fave ‘new’ artists of 2014. (Jo Michelmore)


#3. Jack Colwell and The Owls




Sometimes I wish I lived in Sydney, because if I did I definitely would have heard of Jack Colwell before this year and would have more than likely been able to catch him performing live around town. Seriously though, I wouldn't live in Sydney ever, but it'd be great to see the very talented Mr Colwell and his Owls doing their thing. We had a delightful little chat with Jack earlier in the year and he described his music and himself like dis... "I am a 24year young Sydney boy experimenting with lyfe and kulcha. I come from a classically trained background but decided I liked playing rock music more, I used to write chamber-folk and chamber-pop but now I want to be sxxxy so I write shoegazy kind of stuff. My music is often sad, but don't blame me, blame my ex-boyfriends." Loves it. 


I love Colwell's music just as much. 'Far From View' scored the #5 spot on our Top 114 Songs of the Year list and it's one of the most hauntingly beautiful tracks you'll hear. The dramatic and cinematic atmosphere that's built by Jack is unforgettable. His background in classical music shows in the gorgeous compositions on tracks like 'Seek The Wilde' and the live recording of 'C.O.A.T' you can hear on his Soundcloud page. How such a talented young artist remains unsigned and how our national youth broadcaster wasn't all over a track like 'Far From View' sorta-kinda blows my mind, but I'm just sitting over here thinking 2015 is going to be a big year for Jack Colwell and, I've said it before, but hopefully all that success he deserves will be coming his way. (Matt Bond)


Runner-Up: JP Klipspringer




Ah JP, what a fabulous little representation of 2014 you are. You with all your words making me want to give you a giant hug, with all your synths making me want to sway this way and that, with that song ‘Anastacia’ making me reminisce of times I’ve loved, with all of your EP Drip Dry making me want to sit back, drink a beer and enjoy every second, you have defined part of 2014 for me. I’ll never forget that day I hit play on ‘Bury Me’ for the first time, it is still as comforting as it is lonely and with every listen (which must have reached the thousands by now) I fall a little more in love with it. That song took me to a whole new healthy obsession, with the name JP Klipspringer on my lips every time I had a conversation about what I was listening to at the time. All of that and the fact that when we did a little interview with JP earlier this year he admitted his dislike of that ‘Thrift Shop’ song, he declared his love for singer songwriter types, he asked to have a beer together one day AND he admitted his favourite four letter word was, are you ready for it? Pies. What more could you want in an artist? Not much more, I say. (Jo Michelmore)


WINNER: Tkay Maidza




Tkaaaaay! What did Tkay do in 2014 to capture our complete and undivided attention? Slay. No other rap and/or hip hop artist to come out of Australia has made us sit up and take notice like Tkay Maidza. She's not just very good at what she does. She's incredible. And she's got a good head on her shoulders for someone so young and, even though a healthy dose of ego goes a long way in her chosen field, is showing no signs of brewing up some insane diva-tude. Tkay's got game (please excuse my attempts to garner street cred), can rap up a storm and the lady can sing too. We know this, because we've heard her latest single, 'Switch Lanes'. It's real good like and hopefully we'll be hearing it on 'Straya Day on the Hottest 100. 


There was very little doubt we'd be naming Tkay Maidza our Best New Artist of 2014. She dominated our weekly Top 25, shutting all others out of the #1 spot for close to three months. Maidza ended the year at #47 (Kilter's 'They Say'), #43 ('Finish Them') and #13 ('Switch Lanes') on our Top 114 Songs of the Year countdown. Oh... and #1. Can't forget that 'U-Huh' was our favourite song of the entire year. We got to hear it live a couple of times, dance around, jump up and down. Yeah, it's the best. And so's Tkay Maidza. Her star's on the rise, she's already getting love from all over the world. What's next for her we don't know, but it's going to be awesome. U-huh. (Matt Bond)


2013 Winner:
Little May
Runner-Up: Michelle Xen


2012 Winner:
Curxes/Kira Puru and The Bruise (Tie)
Runner-Up: Nick and Liesl/Laneway (Tie)


2011 Winner:
Lana Del Rey/James Blake (Tie)
Runner-Up: Emma Louise


2010 Winner:
Ellie Goulding